To all freedom-seeking Iranians who desire non-violent overthrow of the Islamic Republic,
The Iranian uprising of December 2017/January 2018 revived the widespread and deep-rooted aspiration for overthrow of the Islamic Republic in Iran, opening a new chapter in the Iranian people’s longstanding struggle for democracy, justice, and the rule of law. This progressive movement is founded upon principles that are diametrically opposed to the regressive values of the 1979 Islamic revolution and the “Criminal Cult” that has occupied, subjugated and ruled our beloved country for the past 40 years.
The two wings of this criminal cult – the so-called Reformists and Principalists (or Hardliners) – continue to draw from oil revenues to recruit and finance a large network of journalists, academics, commentators, lobbyists and other operatives both inside and outside Iran. This network works to silence systematically the authentic Iranian voices that call for non-violent overthrow of the Islamic Republic. Through deceit, manipulation and repression, this network’s goal is to ensure that such voices are dismissed, or never heard, by the international community.
The undersigned – a diverse group drawn from the opposition to the Islamic Republic – have resolved to expose these regime operatives and their campaign of deceit and misinformation and to reflect worldwide the real concerns and aspirations of the countless Iranians who seek systemic political change in Iran. The Iranian people have spoken loudly and clearly in the streets of Iran; we echo their collective voice by repeating their words here: “We will reclaim Iran”. To this end, after a long period of reflection and deliberation, it is with great pride that we announce hereby the establishment of Revival, a new political action network dedicated to the representation, promotion and advancement of the Iranian movement for freedom and democracy.
For any Iranian who is committed to the overthrow of the Islamic Republic and the establishment of a secular democracy in its place, now is the time to choose and act. The widespread protests of December 2017/January 2018 and the subsequent and ongoing forms of civil disobedience and labor strikes have challenged and continue to strain the regime’s oppression machine. The pressure of economic and financial sanctions will soon cripple the bureaucracy of the regime. It will also curtail the finances and abilities of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), stifling its militaristic ambitions in the Middle East and exposing it for the paper tiger that it truly is. Both international and domestic conditions present the Iranian people with a unique opportunity to rid Iran of the Islamic Republic, and this opportunity must not be squandered.
Many of the undersigned penned a letter in December 2016 to then-President-elect Donald Trump, urging his incoming administration to:
expand the existing sanctions and impose new ones on the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps and the Supreme Leader’s financial empire and direct the U.S. Treasury to strongly enforce them… develop a comprehensive regime of sanctions against those Iranian officials who have violated the human rights of the Iranian people over the last 4 decades… form an international coalition to pressure the Islamic Republic of Iran and force the regime to cease its pursuit of long-range ballistic missile … confront the Revolutionary Guards’ malicious behavior in the region, in all fronts, and by all available means.
Now after almost 20 months, most of the policies advocated in that 2016 letter either have been implemented already or are expected to be implemented soon. We continue to believe that such policies can debilitate the regime and weaken its repressive apparatus, thereby opening a window of opportunity for the people of Iran to finally overthrow the Islamic Republic.
Although the root cause of the current socioeconomic crisis in Iran is the incompetent and corrupt regime and its four decades of empty promises and destructive agenda, top regime officials have concluded that current U.S. policy is the primary cause of the Islamic Republic’s precarious condition; they hope and expect that, upon a future shift in U.S. policy, they will have a chance to save the regime from the crippling internal and external pressures – President Hassan Rouhani said so explicitly in his address to senior clerics on May 26, 2018.
Even if future changes in the international political arena do not serve to rescue the Islamic Republic from its current troubled state, the Criminal Cult ruling Iran has demonstrated in the past its willingness to embrace “heroic flexibility” and to sacrifice the national interests of Iran whenever necessary for self-preservation. And if this regime becomes desperate, it will undoubtedly concede the territorial integrity of Iran, from the Caspian Sea to the Persian Gulf.
The regime’s entry into the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (commonly known as the “Iran Nuclear Deal”) did not resolve any of the fundamental political, economic or social problems in Iran or alleviate the hardships and injustices suffered daily by ordinary Iranians. By the same token, even if the regime accepts all twelve of the demands put forth by the U.S. Secretary of State and temporarily curbs its missile program and halts its destabilizing activities in the Middle East, we do not expect to see any material improvements in the standard of living in Iran. Therefore, in our opinion, the pre-requisite to any substantial reform in Iran is overthrow of the Islamic Republic. We believe that overthrowing this regime through general strikes and civil disobedience is not only desirable but also feasible, and, most importantly, it is the only way to save Iran.
The undersigned are willing to cooperate with other opposition forces inside and outside Iran toward a common objective in furtherance of Iran’s national interest: to overthrow the Islamic Republic and to establish in its place a secular democracy that safeguards each Iranian’s human rights. Revival welcomes all Iranians who ascribe to the following foundational principles. In particular, we extend our hands in cooperation to the young Iranians of our generation who have not played any role in the current Criminal Cult seizing power in 1979 or its survival in the past 40 years. Indeed, they have been the primary victims of the regime’s incompetence, corruption, and discriminatory policies.
- We recognize that the Islamic Republic presents an existential threat to Iran and Iranians and it cannot be reformed. Therefore, overthrow of the Islamic Republic is the first necessary step toward saving Iran from destruction.
- We believe in establishing a secular liberal democracy that guarantees “separation of religion and state” and “freedom of conscience”. The exact form of the future political system must be determined by the people of Iran after overthrow of the Islamic Republic.
- We believe in equal rights for all Iranians and vehemently oppose any form of discrimination against our fellow citizens based on faith, ethnicity, gender or sexual orientation, among other differences of background or way of life. We believe that the laws of the future Iranian state must be compatible with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
- We will maintain our distance from, and set clear boundaries with, the regressive Islamist and/or Communist ideologies that have produced and remain responsible for so much violence and destruction in Iran. We recognize the danger of these ideologies and their potential to cause further harm in Iran’s future.
- We view the current anti-Western, anti-American, and anti-Israeli foreign policy of the regime as detrimental to the national interests of Iran and the well-being of Iranians. We desire an Iran that maintains peaceful and constructive diplomatic relations and economic cooperation with all of our neighbors in the region and other states across the world.
- We recognize the key role that Prince Reza Pahlavi plays in connecting all segments of the Iranian society and uniting the secular democratic opposition to the Islamic Republic. In replacing the current regime with a democratic and secular state, his leadership and influence can facilitate a smooth transition and ensure peace, order, national unity, and the territorial integrity of Iran.